The Tundra Sport of Kicking Off Car Chunks
by John Holbrook

 This Minnesota car has a big, dirty ice chunk lodged in the wheel well.
Experienced tundra "chunkers" know how to expertly kick loose such frozen matter.
 

During the long winter here on the Lake Hubert tundra, several outdoor sports help pass the season along. Of course, the obvious activities inculde skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. A much more esoteric but still satisfying winter pursuit is the sport of car chunking.

Car Chunking involves kicking off the ice formations that form directly behind car and truck tires as a result of driving through snowy and slushy roads that have been saturated with salt and sand from Minnesota road crews. The natural rotation of vehicle tires splashes up this disgusting mixture where it adheres and solidifies in the wheel wells. These chunks are not good for one's car as the salt and sand are corrosive to metal, at least what little metal now used in automobile construction. The chunks can get large enough to actually rub against the tires causing undo wear. Thus, the solution to this annoying problem is to kick off the ice chunks when conditions are favorable for such action.

Now, one must be very careful when engaging in car chunking as the sport is very dependent on proper temperature and kicking technique. Chunking can only take place when the thermometer reads above 15 degrees as the salt and sand will then help soften the ice. Optimum chunking takes place when the temperature approaches 30 degrees. At that level of warmth, an experienced chunker can clear off four wheel wells in less than a minute.

As you can imagine, significant injuries may occur if improper chunking methods are used. Heel abrasions and broken toes, especially among newly arrived folks from the South, are quite common. As a result of such trauma, the Mayo Clinic has added a sub speciality in "Chunkology" to its Podiatry program to better address these injuries. It should be noted that medical personnel in this speciality are required to do residency training north of 46 degrees latitude (north of St. Cloud). Unfortunately, only a few health insurance plans cover chunking injuries and it is not known if new proposed health care legislation would cover this glaring omission.

It is hoped that this story will help generate more interest in the rewarding sport of car chunking. Remember, if you are a novice please chunk with a tundra native for a few hours before enjoying this wonderful activity on your own.

 Here we see the "toe kick" which is the most common technique used in chunk removal.
Notice the heavy boots that are worn to protect sensitive toes from injury.
 

 This is the classic "heel kick" that is typically used when
temperatures are between 15 and 20 degrees.
 

 This disgusting chunk of salt, sand, and ice has been
successfully kicked free of the car wheel well.

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